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Celebration of the Chinese New Year enriches our cultural diversity
Led by a traditional Chinese lion dancing for good luck and accompanied by the music of beating drums, the 9th of February saw the Minister for Ethnic Communities, Hon Judith Collins, host a gathering of 200 people at Parliament, including members of parliament, diplomatic, government officials, leaders of the Chinese community, as well as representatives from 19 different ethnicities.
The Minister acknowledged that the range of ethnicities and cultures in our population continue to grow - enriching us culturally, socially and economically, saying: “Chinese New Year is the biggest and most important festival in the Chinese calendar, and is fast becoming very popular among the wider New Zealand society. It is a time to celebrate with family and to take stock before moving forward”.
January 28 is the first day of the year of the rooster and celebrations last for a fortnight culminating in a lantern festival. It is said those born in the year of the rooster are hard-working, courageous and independent. The traditional and timeless celebration of Chinese New Year is the most important holiday on the Chinese calendar and celebrated in other countries such as Malaysia and Singapore and as well as around the world.
The first Chinese settler Appo Hocton arrived in 1842. Over 175 years of migration and growth have seen a thriving Chinese community become one of the largest ethnic groups in New Zealand, totalling a population of approximately 171,000.
Celebrating Chinese New Year symbolises aspirations for peace, joy and social cohesion. A series of activities and celebrations welcoming in the year of the rooster were held throughout New Zealand, recognising that our cultural diversity is part of our national identity.